SBD/January 29, 2014/Marketing and Sponsorship

NBA's LaRocca: League Will Stop Using Adidas Sleeved Jerseys If Players Push Back

Some players felt they had not been given enough input regarding the sleeved jerseys
NBA Exec VP/Global Merchandising Sal LaRocca said that if there is "sustained, widespread resistance" from players against the use of sleeved adidas jerseys, they will "not be used in the future," according to Ric Bucher of BLEACHER REPORT. LaRocca said, "We don't have any intention to do anything that is going to compromise the play on the court or that the players are against doing." A majority of the 21 NBA players polled by Bleacher Report saw the introduction of the sleeved jerseys as "simply a means of generating more revenue for the league." LaRocca "did not deny that." However, he noted that the NBPA is "guaranteed a minimum flat amount from merchandise sales" or 50% of all sales, whichever figure is higher. The impact of "being involved in the design stage is illustrated in the player attitude about wearing uniforms with their nicknames on them," which the Nets and Heat already have done. That idea "came from the Heat players," and so far no player "has complained." Several players said that they would "feel different" about the sleeved jerseys "if they'd been allowed input." But LaRocca said that some players were involved in the process, "at least as far as wearing them." LaRocca: "All the (four) teams that are wearing them now involved their players in making that decision." He added, however, that players who wore the jerseys "in one-off situations" like the All-Star Game and Christmas Day games "were not consulted." LaRocca said that plans for "next year's Christmas Day uniforms and the 2015 All-Star Game already are being discussed," and that if the All-Stars "make it clear they don't like the look or feel of this year's uniforms, the league will respond accordingly" (BLEACHERREPORT.com, 1/27).
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